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TOPIC: 21st Century Literature in Various Regions

21st Century Literature in Various Regions
Topics under this module
Philippine Literature during the Precolonial Period
Philippine Literature during the Spanish Colonial
Philippine Literature during the American and the
Japanese Periods
Philippine Literature in the Postwar and
Contemporary Period
Life and Works of Jose Garcia Villa
Life and Works of Carlos P. Romulo
Life and Works of Francisco Arcellana
Life and Works of Nestor Vicente Madali (N.V.M.)
Life and Works of Edith L. Tiempo
Life and Works of F. Sionil Jose
At the end of this lesson, you should be able to
identify the characteristics of precolonial
literature of the Philippines.
What texts are considered precolonial literature?
Learn about it!
Theprecolonial literatureincludes all literature produced before
the Spanish colonization like chants, proverbs, songs, and folk
narratives. These were all passed down from generation to
generation by word of mouth.
Philippine folk narratives are varied and distinct. They depict the

peoples livelihood, customs, and traditions.

1. Folktale This is a characteristically anonymous, timeless, and

placeless tale circulated orally among a people.

2. Fable This features animal characters or inanimate objects that

behave like people.

3. Legend This is presented as history but is unlikely to be true.

4. Myth This is told to explain a belief, a practice, or a natural

5. Epic This narrative poem celebrates the adventures and

achievements of a hero.
Folktales about Juan are very popular. Some emphasize certain virtues, and
some serve as warning about behavior. Also, some are for the readers

Example 1:
Juan Gathers Guavas(A Tagalog Folktale)
One day several neighbors came to Juans home to visit. His father wanted to
give the guests something to eat, so he sent Juan to get some ripe guavas for
Full of mischief, Juan decided to play a joke on his fathers guests. He went to
get the guavas and ate all of them while thinking of a good joke. Then he saw
a wasps nest hung nearby. With some difficulty he managed to take it down
and put it into a tight basket. He hastened home and gave the basket to his
father. Quickly he left the room where the guests were and closed the door
and fastened it.
As soon as Juans father opened the basket, the wasps flew over the room.
With the door locked, the people fought to get out of the windows. After a
while Juan opened the door. When he saw the swollen faces of the people,
he cried.
What fine, rich guavas you must have had! They have made you all so fat!
Example 2:
Juan Pusong and His Fathers Cows(A Visayan Folktale)
One day Juan Pusong's father put his cows out to pasture. Juan slipped away
from home and took the cows into the forest and tied them there. When his father
found out that the cows were missing, he looked around for them. While looking,
he ran into his son.
Where did you come from? he asked.
I just came from school, Father. How about you, where are you going?
I am looking for our cows.
You dont say!" said Juan.
By that time, everybody knew about Juans power as a seer. So, he took a little
book from his pocket and looked into it. He said, Our cows are tied together in the
forest. So, his father went to the forest and found the cows.
Later on, people would discover that Juan could not read even his own name.
Consequently, his father beat him for the trick he had played on him.
The monkey is a common animal character in Philippine fables.
It is often depicted as a cunning animal.
The Monkey and the Crocodile(A Tagalog Fable)
One day, a monkey saw a tall macopa tree laden with ripe fruits, which stood
by a wide river. It was hungry, so it climbed the tree and ate all of the fruits.
When it climbed down, it could find no means by which to cross the river.
Then it saw a young crocodile who had just woken up from its siesta. It said
to the crocodile in a friendly way, My dear crocodile, will you do me a
The crocodile was greatly surprised by the monkeys amicable salutation. So,
it answered humbly, Oh, yes! If there is anything I can do for you, I shall be
glad to do it. The monkey then told the crocodile that it wanted to get to the
other side of the river. Then the crocodile said, Ill take you there with all my
heart. Just sit on my back, and well go at once.
The monkey sat firmly on the crocodiles back, and they began to move. In a
short while they reached the middle of the stream. Then the crocodile began
to laugh aloud. You foolish monkey! it said, Ill eat your liver and kidneys,
for Im very hungry. The monkey became nervous.
Trying to conceal its anxiety, it said, Im very glad that you
mentioned the matter. I thought myself that you might be
hungry, so I have prepared my liver and kidneys for your
dinner. Unfortunately, in our haste to depart, I left them
hanging on the macopa tree. Let us return, and Ill get them
for you.
Convinced that the monkey was telling the truth, the crocodile
turned around and swam back to the direction of the macopa
tree. When they got near the riverbank, the monkey nimbly
jumped up onto the land and scampered up the tree. The
crocodile came to realize what happened and said, I am a
There are different Filipino legends of the great flood. The story of Bukidnon, for
instance, tells that a huge crab caused the water to rise by going into the sea. On the
other hand, the Igorot story tells that the sons of Lumawig the Great Spirit caused the

Example 1:
The Flood Story(A Legend of Bukidnon)
A long time ago there was a very big crab which crawled into the sea. When it went
in, it crowded the water out so that it ran all over the earth and covered all the land.
Now about one moon before the flood happened, a wise man had told the people
that they must build a large raft. They did as he commanded and cut many large
trees until they had enough to make three layers. These they bound tightly together;
when it was done, they fastened the raft with a long rattan cord to a big pole in the
Soon after the raft was done, the flood came. White water poured out of the hills,
and the sea rose and covered even the highest mountains. The people and animals
on the raft were safe, but all the others drowned.
Soon the waters went down, and the raft was again on the ground. It was near their
old home, for the rattan cord had held.
The people on the raft together with the animals were the only ones left on the
whole earth.
Example 2:
The Flood Story(A Legend of the Igorot)
Once upon a time, the world was flat, and there were no mountains. There lived
two sons of Lumawig, the Great Spirit. The brothers were fond of hunting; since no
mountains had formed, there was no good place to catch wild pig and deer. The
older brother said, Let us cause water to flow over all the world and cover it, and
then mountains will rise up.
So, the brothers caused water to flow over all the earth. When it was covered, they
took the head-basket of the town and set it for a trap. They were very much
pleased when they went to look at their trap, for they had caught not only many
wild pigs and deer but also many people.
Lumawig looked down from his place in the sky and saw that his sons had flooded
the earth. However, there was just one spot which was not covered. All the people
in the world had been drowned except a brother and a sister who lived in Pokis.
Then Lumawig descended, and he called to the boy and girl, saying, Oh, you are
still alive.
Yes, answered the boy, we are still alive, but we are very cold.
So, Lumawig commanded his dog and deer to get fire for the boy and girl. The dog
and the deer swam quickly away. Lumawig waited a long time, but the dog and
the deer did not return. All the time the boy and girl were growing colder.
Finally, Lumawig himself went after the dog and the deer. When he reached them,
he said, Why are you so long in bringing the fire to Pokis? Get ready and come
quickly while I watch you, for the boy and girl are very cold.
Then the dog and the deer took the fire and started to swim through the flood.
When they had gone only a little way, the fire was put out.
Lumawig commanded the dog and the deer to get more fire, and they did so.
However, they swam only a little way again when that of the deer went out.
That of the dog would have been extinguished also had not Lumawig gone
quickly to him and taken it.
As soon as Lumawig reached Pokis, he built a big fire which warmed the brother
and sister. The water evaporated so that the world was as it was before, except
that now there were mountains. The brother and sister married and had
children, and thus there came to be many people on the earth.
There are Philippine versions of the creation myth. The Igorots story tells
that Lumawig the Great Spirit created people. On the other hand, the
Tagalog story tells that the first man and woman came from a bamboo.

Example 1:
The Creation(An Igorot Myth)
In the beginning, there were no people on the earth. Lumawig, the
Great Spirit, came down from the sky and cut many reeds. He divided
the reeds into pairs which he placed in different parts of the world,
and then he said to them, You must speak. Immediately the reeds
became people, and in each place was a man and a woman who
could talk. However, the language of each couple differed from that of
the others.
Then Lumawig commanded each man and woman to marry, which
they did. By and by there were many children, all speaking the same
language as their parents. The children married and had many
children of their own. In this way, there came to be many people on
the earth.
Now Lumawig saw that there were several things which the people on the
earth needed to use, so he set to work to supply them. He created salt and
told the inhabitants of one place to boil it down and sell it to their neighbors.
However, the people could not understand the directions. The next time he
visited them, they had not touched the salt. So, he took the salt away from
them and gave it to the people of a place called Mayinit.
The people of Mayinit did as Lumawig directed. Because of their obedience,

he told them that they should always be owners of the salt and that the other
peoples must buy of them.
Then Lumawig went to the people of Bontoc and told them to get clay and

make pots. They got the clay, but they did not understand the molding; the jars
were not well shaped. Because of their failure, Lumawig told them that they
would always have to buy their jars, and he removed the pottery to Samoki.
Lumawig told the people of Samoki what to do, and they did just as he said.

Their jars were well shaped and beautiful. Then Lumawig saw that they were
fit owners of the pottery, and he told them that they should always make many
jars to sell.
In this way, Lumawig taught the people and brought to them all the things

which they now have.

Example 2:
The Creation(A Tagalog Myth)
When the world first began there was no land. There were only the sea
and the sky, and between them was a kite. One day the bird which had
nowhere to light grew tired of flying about, so she stirred up the sea
until it threw its waters against the sky. The sky, in order to restrain the
sea, showered upon it many islands until it could no longer rise, but ran
back and forth. Then the sky ordered the kite to alight on one of the
islands to build its nest, and to leave the sea and the sky in peace.
Now at this time the land breeze and the sea breeze were married, and
they had a bamboo as their child. One day when the bamboo was
floating about on the water, it struck the feet of the kite which was on
the beach. The bird, angry that anything should strike it, pecked at the
bamboo. Out of one section came a man and from the other a woman.
The earthquake called on all the birds and fish to see what should be
done with the man and the woman, and it was decided that they
should marry. Many children were born to the couple, and from them
came all the different races of people.
After a while the parents grew very tired of having so many idle and

useless children around. They wished to be rid of them, but they

knew of no place to send them to. Time went on, and the children
became so numerous that the parents enjoyed no peace. One day, in
desperation, the father seized a stick and began beating them on all
The beating frightened the children so much that they fled in different

directions. Some seek hidden rooms in the house. Some concealed

themselves in the walls. Some ran outside, while others hid in the
fireplace. Several fled to the sea.
Now it happened that those who went into the hidden rooms of the

house later became the chiefs of the islands; and those who
concealed themselves in the walls became slaves. Those who ran
outside were free men; and those who hid in the fireplace became
negroes; while those who fled to the sea were gone many years, and
when their children came back they were the white people.
The Philippine epics are sung or chanted in episodes. They
feature supernatural characters and reflect the society where
they originated. Also, there are different versions of a story.
Biag ni Lam-ang
This Ilocano epic tells the adventures of Lam-ang, a man with supernatural powers.
He goes to war at nine-months-old and seeks the killers of his father. He embarks on
a quest with his animal friends and meets his future wife, Innes Kanoyan. He is
swallowed by a fish and resurrected from death by his animal friends.
This epic is of the Sulod, a group of people living in the mountains of central Panay. It
tells the story of three very strong men, namely, Labaw Donggon, Humadapnon, and
Dumalapdap. They are the sons of Datu Paubari, the ruler of Halawod, and the
goddess Alunsina. The exploits of each son concerns beautiful women that he wants
to have as a wife.
This Maranao epic depicts the adventures of a brave warrior named Bantugan. He
owns a magical sword protected by a spirit. After a battle, he rests and accidentally
falls into the water. A crocodile finds him and brings him to the enemies. He fights,
regains his strength, and wins the war.
The precolonial literature of the Philippines
includes all literature produced before the
Spanish colonization. It includes chants, proverbs,
songs, spells, and different folk narratives like folk
tales, fables, legends, myths, and epics that were
all passed down from generation to generation
through the word of mouth.
At the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
Name some literary works published during

the Spanish Colonial Period, and

analyze some literary works.
Learn about it!
Notes on the Spanish Colonial Period (15211898)
Expeditions to the Philippines were sent by Spain in

the 16th century. In their conquest, the Spaniards

brought Christianity with them. The clergy made a
great impact on faith, education, and government.
Through the Manila-Acapulco trade (15651815),

liberal ideas entered the country. Also, the trade gave

rise to a wealthier middle class. Children in middle
class families could then be sent to Europe to get an
education. Upon their return, they brought European
ideals of liberty and freedom with them. Such ideals
would then give rise to Filipino nationalism.
Philippine Literature
during the Spanish Occupation
The Spanish missionaries taught the gospel through the native language, so
they hired natives to translate Spanish religious instructional materials.
Eventually, the natives became fluent in Spanish and became known as
Ladinos mainly wrote devotional poetry. Two of them were Fernando

Bagongbanta and Gaspar Aquino de Belen. Bagongbanta wrote Salamat nang

walang hanga/gracias de sin sempiternas, which appeared in Memorial de la
vida cristiana en lengua tagala (1605), a book containing basic Catholic
doctrines. On the other hand, de Belen wrote Ang Mahal na Passion ni Jesu
Christong Panginoon natin na tola (1704), the earliest version of pasyon.
Also, the native drama called the komedya or moro-moro was popular. It

depicted the war between Christians and Muslims, wherein the former always
wins. The poet Jose de la Cruz (17461829) was a master of such art form.
Native literature continued. Though the Spaniards destroyed the written

literature in their effort to replace it with their own, the oral tradition survived
and flourished in areas beyond the reach of the Spaniards.
Francisco Baltazar(1788-1862), the master of traditional Tagalog
poetry, became well-known for his workFlorante at Laura(1838
1861), the most famous metrical romance of the country.
Pedro Paterno(18571911) wroteSampaguitas y poesias
varias(1880), the first poetry collection in Spanish by a Filipino;
and the novel in SpanishNinay(1885), considered to be the first
Filipino novel.
Jose Rizal(18611896), a prominent ilustrado and the countrys
national hero, is famous for the novelsNoli Me TangereandEl
Filibusterismo. These novels portray the corruption and abuse of
the Spanish officials and the clergy.
Andres Bonifacio(18631897), the founder of the Katipunan,
wrote the poem Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa. This poem appeared
in theKalayaan, the official newspaper of the Katipunan, in March
Leona Florentino(18491884), known as the mother of
Philippine womens literature, was a poet in both Ilocano and
Spanish. Twenty of her poems were preserved and exhibited in
Europe. The poems were included in the Encyclopedia International
des Oeuvres des Femme in 1889.
Philippine Literature during the Spanish occupation
was mostly influenced by Christianity as well as the
European ideals of liberty and freedom through
trade. Filipino writers either wrote in Spanish or in
their own tongue or both.
At the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
identify some Filipino writers who produced

significant works of literature during the

American and Japanese Periods (18981945), and
analyze a poem by the Filipino poet Fernando

Learn about it!
Notes on the American Occupation

The US established a civil government in 1901. Free public education was

introduced. Also, English was the medium of instruction.

In 1934, President Roosevelt signed a bill making the Philippines a

commonwealth. On May 14, 1935 Manuel L. Quezon was elected president.

Literary Works Produced
The production of literary works in English is the direct result of the American

colonization of the Philippines. The first collection of poetry in English isFilipino

Poetry(1924), edited by Rodolfo Dato. The short story Dead Stars (1925) by Paz
Marquez Benitez is considered as the first Filipino modern short story in English.A
Child of Sorrow(1921) by Zoilo M. Galang is the first Filipino novel in English. The
novelHis Native Soil(1940) by Juan C. Laya won first prize in the First
Commonwealth Literary Awards in 1940.
Filipino writers in English during the apprenticeship period (19001930) imitated

American writing. The poet Fernando Maramag writes in the Romantic tradition in
his sonnet Moonlight on Manila Bay (1912). Filipino fictionists copied Sherwood
Anderson, William Saroyan, and Ernest Hemingway. Jose Garcia Villa used the
Anderson pattern. Manuel Arguilla and N. V. M. Gonzalez were influenced by
Anderson and Hemingway. Francisco Arcellana was influenced by Saroyan.
Notes on the Japanese Occupation
On December 8, 1941, the Japanese attacked Manila.

On January 2, 1942, Japanese occupied Manila. They set up a Council of State

in the country and started propaganda to remold the Filipinos.

In October 1943 the Japanese declared the Philippines independent. On

September 20, Jose P. Laurel was elected president.

MacArthur and his Allied forces returned to the country in 1944. They landed

on Leyte on October 20, and the biggest naval battle in history ensued.
The Japanese surrendered formally on September 2, 1945.

Literary Works Produced

During the occupation, publications were censored by the military. Also,

Tagalog was declared an official language (together with Nihonggo). In effect,

Philippine literature in English came to a halt. Some Filipino writers then
turned to writing in Filipino.
The Tagalog short story reached its maturity during the period. The best

works were compiled by theLiwaywaymagazine editors inAng

Pinakamabuting Maikling Kathang Pilipino ng 1943, which came out in 1944.
It is a collection of stories that won a contest sponsored by the Japanese. The
top four stories were Lupang Tinubuan by Narciso G. Reyes, Uhaw ang
Tigang na Lupa by Liwayway Arceo, Nayon at Dagat-dagatan by N. V. M.
Gonzalez, and Suyuan sa Tubigan by Macario Pineda.
The American occupation of the Philippines
spurred the writing of Filipinos in English.
On the other hand, the Japanese occupation
censored literary works yet contributed to
the maturity of the Tagalog short story.
At the end of this lesson, you should be
able to identify postwar and contemporary
literary authors and their works and name
their contributions to the development of
literature in the Philippines.
Learn about it!
Postwar and Contemporary Literature
Postwar and contemporary literatureinclude all
literary works written and published in the
Philippines from 1946.
After World War II, the Philippines had to deal with

the economy and the need for rehabilitation and

reconstruction of infrastructures. There was political,
economic, and social confusion, as well as great
poverty, and these issues found their way into the
short stories and novels during that time.
During the postwar period, Filipino writers got their inspiration
from American teachers and were able to learn their
techniques, which also helped in mastering the English

Writers wrote fiction that focused on courageous deeds as well

as the sacrifices and suffering in the lives of Filipinos. It was
also common for writers to write about the experiences of the
Filipino people under the Spanish and American rule and the
Japanese Occupation. Other subjects and themes include:
religious faith



social problems




Literary Works
Philippine literature flourished even more during the

postwar and contemporary period. Writers were able to

produce short stories, novels, essays, and poems that
continue to be read by Filipinos today.
Some works written in the postwar and contemporary

period are:
May Day Eve by Nick Joaquin, 1947

Waywaya by F. Sionil Jose, 1983

We Filipinos Are Mild Drinkers by Alejandro Roces, 1948
The Return by Edith L. Tiempo
History and Philippine Culture by Horacio de la Costa, 1965
Without Seeing the Dawn by Stevan Javellana, 1947
Nick Joaquin, a National Artist for Literature awardee, wrote

articles under the name of Quijano de Manila. His short story

"May Day Eve," published in 1947, is about love in a patriarchal
society. It also made use of magic realism.
F. Sionil Jose, one of the most widely read Filipino writers in

English, wrote the short story "Waywaya," which is about pre-

Hispanic society and the peoples struggle for moral order.
Alejandro Roces, a Filipino author, essayist, and dramatist,

wrote the short story "We Filipinos Are Mild Drinkers." This story
focuses on the drinking habits and culture of Filipinos and
Edith L. Tiempo's poem "The Return" is a sentimental piece that

talks about life in old age.

Horacio de la Costawrote the essay "History and Philippine

Culture," which emphasizes the importance of understanding and

presenting a nations culture.
Stevan Javellanawrote the first postwar Filipino novel in

English,Without Seeing the Dawn. This novel narrates what

people experienced during World War II under the Japanese rule
in the Philippines.
To be able to fully appreciate literature in the
Philippines, as a reader and a critic, you must
also be aware of the countrys history,
culture, society, and psyche (human spirit).
At the end of the lesson, you should
be able to recognize Jose Garcia Villas
contributions to the development of
Philippine literature.
Learn about it!
Jose Garcia Villa
Jose Garcia Villa was a Filipino literary critic, poet,

painter, and short story writer. He was born on August 5,

1908 in Manila.
He gained both local and international recognition for his

works. He was named as the National Artist for Literature

in 1973, and he was also a recipient of the Guggenheim
During his college years, he wroteMan Songs, a

collection of controversial poems that was considered too

bold by the University of the Philippines and became the
ground for his suspension from the said institution.
Some of his well-known literary works are "Mir-i-nisa"

(won in the Philippines Free Press in 1929), and "Footnote

to Youth" (published in 1933).
Jose Garcia Villa as a Poet

As a poet, Jose Garcia Villa is known for introducing

the reversed consonance rhyme scheme. According
to Villa, in this method, the last sounded consonants
of the last syllable, or the last principal consonant of
a word, are reversed for the corresponding rhyme.
Thus, a rhyme forlightwould be words such astile,
tall, tale,etc.
He is also known for hiscomma poems, where he
employed a comma after every word.
He used the pseudonymDoveglion, which is derived
fromdove, eagle, lion.
He died on July 7, 1997.
Analyzing a writer's works will help you understand and identify his or her
contributions to Philippine literature.
One of Jose Garcia Villa's well-known works is "Footnote to Youth."
a. Setting
The short story is set in a small town.
b. Plot
Dodong, a seventeen-year-old boy, tells his parents that he wants to marry his
girlfriend Teang.
Rising Action
Teang secretly regrets marrying Dodong at a young age. She wonders what can
happen if she has married Lucio, who is nine years older than Dodong.
Dodong wonders why life does not get to fulfill all of a youths dreams.
Falling Action
Blas tells Dodong about his plan to marry Tona.
Dodong wants to keep Blas from marrying Tona, but he cannot do anything
about it. He feels sorry for Blas.
c. Theme
The story focuses on the consequences of marrying at an early age and starting
a family.

In the story "Footnote to Youth," Dodong is the symbol for

the Filipino youth. His decision to marry his love interest,

Teang, at the age of seventeen demonstrates the passion of
teenagers when it comes to relationships.
Those of the younger generation usually strive for new

pursuits to learn things on their own, often rejecting their

elders guidance. From the story, it is depicted that lessons
are learned through experience. Dodong, as well as Teang,
had many realizations when he became a parent.
In analyzing a literary work, make sure that youread it
thoroughlyandanalyze it well.
Study the background of the author, as this will

give you insights regarding the setting of the story and

the historical and/or social influences of the time and
place in which the author lived.
Analyze the concepts presented in the literary work

byrelating them to practices and traditionsin the

Philippines or in the place used as the setting of the
At the end of this lesson, you should
be able to identify Carlos P. Romulo's
contributions to the development of
Philippine literature.
Learn about it!
Carlos P. Romulo
Carlos P. Romulo was a Filipino diplomat, statesman, journalist, and soldier. He was born on

January 14, 1898 in Intramuros, Manila and grew up in Camiling, Tarlac.

He was the first Filipino journalist who was awarded with the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism.
He was also the first Asian who served as the president of the United Nations General
"I am a Filipino" is one of the many essays written by Carlos P. Romulo. It was published

in The Philippines Herald in August 1941.

He also wrote the book entitled I Saw the Fall of the Philippines, in which he narrated his
personal experiences as an aide-de-camp to General Douglas MacArthur in Corregidor. This
book was followed by a sequel, I See the Philippines Rise, a journalistic account of the
Philippine War in 1944.
Among his other famous literary works are Mother America: A Living Story of Democracy, a

discussion of his political ideals about American democracy in the Philippines, and I Walked
with Heroes, his autobiography.
He was conferred as National Artist for Literature in 1982.

He died on December 15, 1985.

About the EssayI am a Filipino
I am a Filipino is one of the valuable contributions of Carlos P. Romulo to
Philippine literature. Analyzing it would help one understand what he
thinks of the Filipino and what it means to be one.
In the essay, the author speaks of the pride and dignity of the Filipino race,

which is something he wants the future generation to uphold and

The essay also explains the Filipino identity as a product of the fusion of

Western culture (Spanish and American) and Eastern culture (Japanese

occupation and Malayan roots).
Carlos P. Romulo stresses that the fight for freedom sprung up from ones

pride of being a Filipino. He takes pride in the bravery and sacrifices of the
heroes who fought for freedom like Lapu-Lapu , Diego Silang, Jose Rizal ,
Gregorio del Pilar, Antonio Luna, and Manuel L. Quezon.
He also emphasizes the beauty of the Philippines as blessed with bountiful

natural resources and colorful history and culture.

Carlos P. Romulo is a profound writer who
wrote the essayI am a Filipino, which is one
of the great contributions to Philippine
literature not only because it shows ones
love for his country and freedom but also of
being proud as a Filipino.
At the end of this lesson, you should
be able to identify the contributions of
Francisco Arcellana to Philippine
literature by analyzing his literary
Learn about it!
Francisco Arcellana
Francisco Arcellanais a Filipino teacher and a contemporary

writer. He is one of the prominent Filipino fictionists in English.

He is known for innovating and exploring new literary forms and

experimenting with different techniques in short story writing.

He was a member of the group The Veronicans, which was

composed of influential Filipino writers who aimed to use sensible
literature in order to create a greater impact on the Philippines.
He was also the first director of the University of the Philippines
Creative Writing Center.
Some of his well-known literary works are the short stories "The
Man Who Would Be Poe," "Death in a Factory," "A Clown
Remembers," "The Mats," and "Lina."
In 1990, he was awarded as the National Artist for Literature.
His short stories "Flowers of May," "Christmas Gift," and "The
Mats," were adapted as screenplays.
Analyzing a writer's literary works will help in identifying his contributions to
Philippine literature.
Below are details regarding Francisco Arcellana's "The Mats."
a. Setting

The short story is set in the afternoon until evening at the house of the Angeles
b. Plot

Mr. Angeles comes from a periodic inspection trip in Mariveles. During the trip, he
writes to his family and gets them excited about the exceptionally beautiful and
colorful mats he bought from an artist.
Rising Action
Upon arriving, he gives the mats one by one to his children. Each mat is woven
with his childs name and symbols. They are all happy to receive the mats.
There are three mats that are to be unfolded. In a loud voice, he offers the three
mats to his dead children named Josefina, Victoria, and Concepcion.
Falling Action
Nana Emilia, anguished, said he should not have bought mats for them, but Mr.
Angeles insists that they must be remembered.
The children feel the tension and see the grief in the face of Mr. Angeles and the
sadness of Nana Emilia. The father unfolds the three mats in silence.
c. Theme
Coping with the death of a loved one is a struggle.
Commemorating his or her life is painful, but it must
be faced with courage and faith.
Francisco Arcellana presented the story using a

distinct style. He focused on the characters'

actions and dialogues to reveal the innermost
feelings and motives of the characters, which set
the dramatic tone of the short story.
Francisco Arcellanais a Filipino fictionist who
demonstrated his craftsmanship in writing great
literary pieces such as "The Mats," a story that
highlights Filipino family values and pictures an
interesting character coping with the death of loved
ones. In this short story, he uses writing techniques
such as emphasizing the characters actions and
dialogues to reveal their inner motives and
At the end of this lesson, you should be
able to analyze literary works by N.V.M.
Gonzalez and name his contributions to
the development of Philippine literature.
Learn about it!
N.V.M. Gonzalez
Nestor Vicente Madali Gonzalez is an award-winning Filipino poet,
essayist, fictionist, journalist, editor, and teacher of creative writing.
He is the first president of the Philippine Writers Association.
He is also honored as one of the great Filipino writers who advanced
literary traditions and culture.
He was a recipient of the following awards: The Republic Cultural
Heritage Award, the Jose Rizal Pro-Patria Award, the Carlos Palanca
Memorial Award for Literature, and the National Artist Award for
Literature in 1997.
Some of his published works areSeven Hills Away(1947),Children
of the Ash-Covered Loam and Other Stories(1954), andThe
Bamboo Dancers(1949), which appeared in Russian translation in
1965 and 1974.
Seven Hills Awayis a collection of short stories that sketch the daily
lives of the Filipino kaingeros in his hometown province, Mindoro.
The Bamboo Dancersis a diasporic novel that features the
challenges faced by Filipinos in America.
Carefully analyzing the works of a writer will help in determining what his
works have contributed to literature.
"Children of the Ash-Covered Loam" is a short story that depicts Filipino
family practices and beliefs in a rural setting.
a. Setting

The story is set in a provincial place wherekainginis a common

b. Plot

The story begins one sunny afternoon when Tarangs father arrives with a pig
to be taken care of by Tarang, a seven-year-old boy.

Rising Action
Tia Orang, an old midwife, sees Tarang and tells him to inform his mother of
her passing by.
Tatay and Nanay, Tarangs parents, together with their neighbors are all set
for performing religious rites afterkaingin(burning of trees). They believe that
these practices will take away all evil spirits and will give them a bountiful
harvest. Tatay lays the pullets neck and lets the streaks of blood drop on the
ash-covered loam.
Falling Action
After the clearing of the land, Tia Orang visits the family and performs hilot on Nanay
and tells her that she is ready to bear a child. She also shares stories of evil ones and
Tarang, half-awake, hears the noise outside, gets up, and accidentally strikes a tree
stump with his big toe. The hurt does not concern him, for he is more interested in
seeing how life emerge from the land as the rice grains peek through the dirt
c. Theme
Death forms new life. Death and new formations of life are recurring motifs in the
story. When a living thing dies, a new life emerges. The story paints a cycle of life and
death for the family. The kaingin practice and the killing of the pullet as a ritual are
some forms of deaths that the family believes will bring new life like a bountiful
harvest and another child.
The use of words such askaingin, hilot, Nanay,andTatayis part of
N.V.M. Gonzalez's writing style, as even his other works showcase
terms that are unique to the setting of the story. Analyzing a story will
help readers see details such as this that will give them ideas
regarding the writer's contributions to Philippine literature .
N.V.M. Gonzalez is known as a local
colorist writer.Local coloris a literary
technique that features the unique
regional traditions of people and
emphasizes the ordinary events in their
lives. This is used by N.V.M Gonzalez to
present the sociocultural dimensions of
Filipino families and farmers in the
provinces. In "Children of the Ash-
Covered Loam," words that show local
color includekaingin, hilot,
Since the terms used by local colorists
may be unfamiliar to you, you should
analyze and infer their meaning by
taking note of context clues in the story.
At the end of this lesson, you should
be able to identify Edith L. Tiempo's
contributions to Philippine literature
by analyzing her literary works.
Learn about it!
Edith L. Tiempo
Edith L. Tiempo was a Filipino writer in English. She was a poet, fiction writer,
and literary critic.
She was known for using intricate and witty representations to portray
significant human experiences.
Some of her well known poems are "The Return," a poem that describes the
characteristics of old age, "Lament for the Littlest Fellow," a poem that
presents a metaphor to describe the plight of a submissive wife under her
domineering husband, and "Bonsai," a poem that gives a look at how
tangible objects could be keepers of memories and emotions.
As a fictionist, she was known for her moral profoundness. One of her
remarkable short stories, "The Black Monkey," won third prize in the Carlos
Palanca Memorial Award. "The Black Monkey," which is set during the time
when guerrillas were fighting against the Japanese during World War II,
narrates the tormenting encounter of a woman with a monkey.
She also wrote the novelA Blade of Fern, which depicts the problems of
Filipino miners of Nibucal in southern Philippines.
She was awarded as the National Artist for Literature in 1999.
She founded with her husband the Silliman University National Writers
Workshop, which produced great young writers of her time.
Analyzing the literary work of a writer would help in determining what her
contributions are to literature.
Below is an excerpt of Edith L. Tiempo's poem "The Return."
The Return

If the dead years could shake their skinny legs and run
As once he had circled this house in thirty counts,
he would go thru this door among those old friends and they would not shun
Him and the tales he would tell, tales that would
bear more than the spare
Testimony of willed wit and his grey hairs.
And he would live in the whispers and locked heads.
Wheeling around and around turning back was where he started:
The turn to the pasture, a swift streak under a boys running;
The swing, up a few times and he had all the earth he wanted;
The tower trees, and not so tall as he had
The rocking chair on the porch, you pushed it and it started rocking,
Rocking, and abruptly stopped. He, too, stopped in the doorway, chagrined.
He would go among them but he would not tell, he could be smart,
He, an old man cracking the bones of his embarrassment apart.
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and this effort is ongoing. Should you have concerns regarding the proper use
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this matter, please let us know immediately.
Old age is the subject of the given poem. This poem describes the life of an

old man who loved to travel in his youth. The phrases dead years, skinny
legs, and thirty counts denote the physical weakness and isolation that the
old man feels. The old man wants to visit his friends to bond with them and
share to them his travel stories and experiences. Hopelessly, he sees only
the things associated with old age: irritability and illness, rocking chair,
pasture, and the tower tree.
The themes or messages of the poem are:

Time is irreversible, and memories can only be remembered and cherished.

Old people face physical weakness and emotional challenges such as

feelings of isolation, sadness, and frustration.

Old age is an inevitable period in human growth and development.
Authors Style
Edith L. Tiempo used a very contemplative style in
writing the poem "The Return." The theme and the
subject of the poem are very serious. Her narrative
tone and vivid visual imagery allow readers to think
deeply about old age and evoke emotions of nostalgia
and sadness from the old mans perspective.
Edith L. Tiempo is one of the foremost Filipino
contemporary writers in English who is known for her
style and substance. Her language is considered
descriptive but without scrupulous detailing. Her
literary works are hailed for their artistic
representation of significant human experiences.
In analyzing and interpreting a poem, a
reader must not confuse the subject and
the theme of the poem. The subject is what
the poem is about whereas the theme is the
poem's underlying idea or message.
A poem could have two or more themes.
At the end of this lesson, you should be
able to identify F. Sionil Joses contributions
to the development of Philippine literature.
Learn about it!
F. Sionil Jose

Francisco Sionil Jose, widely known as F. Sionil Jose, was born

on December 3, 1924 in Rosales, Pangasinan.
His life and most of his works are influenced by Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

He edited various literary and journalistic publications, and he

founded the Philippine PEN, an organization of poets,

playwrights, and novelists.
He opened Solidaridad Publishing House in 1965. A year after,

he foundedSolidarity, a magazine that produces content

mainly focused on "current affairs, ideas, and the arts."
He was a recipient of numerous awards. Some of which are the

Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature, and

Creative Communications in 1980, the Pablo Neruda Centennial
Award in 2004, and the Officer in the French Order of Arts and
Letters in 2014.
He was conferred as National Artist for Literature in 2001.
F. Sionil Jose's Literary Works

F. Sionil Joses are generally written in English and are translated

to more than twenty languages and produced worldwide.
Among his most celebrated works is theRosales Saga. It is a
series of novels that are set from the Spanish colonial period to
the proclamation of Martial Law in the 1970s. This saga includes
the following novels:Po-on,Tree,The Pretenders,Mass,andMy
Brother, My Executioner.
He has also written several short stories, including the notable
"The God Stealer". It is a story about the friendship of Philip
Latak, an Ifugao, and Sam Christie, an American who wanted to
buy abulol, a sculpture of an Ifugao god. The story depicts the
relationship and truths about the colonizer and the colony.
Waywaya: Eleven Filipino Short Storiesis a compilation of short
stories about pre-Hispanic Philippine society.
In 2004, he published the childrens bookThe Molave and Other
Childrens Stories.
To identify a writer's contributions to Philippine literature, it is
important to analyze and take a close look at his literary works.
In a nutshell, F. Sionil Joses "The God Stealer" tells the story of Philip

Latak and Sam Christie. Philip was residing in the city for years
against his familys wishes. Sam, his colleague, was an American
who wanted abulol, an Ifugao god sculpture, as a souvenir before he
gets back to Boston. Philip stole his grandfathersbulolfor Sam, as
he felt indebted to repay Sams kindness. Then Philips grandfather
died, and he no longer wanted to come with Sam back in the city.
The story tackles one of the many effects of colonization, that is,

losing ones identity. Philip represents the Philippines, while Sam

represents America. Philips way of offering thebulolto Sam out of
gratitude shows how he tried to denounce his roots by embracing a
new one, thus losing himself in the process.
F. Sionil Jose is among the most widely read
Filipino writers in English whose novels and short
stories depict a wide scope of social
underpinnings and struggles of the Filipino
masses. He is the countrys most influential living
writer who employs realism through his narrative
techniques and styles.
At the end of this lesson, you should be able
identify the valuable contributions of Virgilio

S. Almario to Philippine Literature; and

analyze one of his poems.
Learn about it!
Virgilio S. Almario

Virgilio S. Almario, popularly known by his pen name Rio

Alma, is a Filipino artist known for his poetry and literary
criticism. He was proclaimed National Artist for Literature in
Almario, together with poets Rogelio Mangahas and

Lamberto E. Antonio, pioneered the second modernist

movement in Filipino poetry. In his own words, he defines
modernist poetry as sparing, suggestive, and restrained in
emotion; its vocabulary and subject are immersed in the
now. Among his poetry collections areMakinasyon at Ilang
Tula(1968), his very first collection;Peregrinasyon at Iba
Pang Tula(1970), which won first prize in poetry in the
Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards;Doktrinang
Anakpawis(1979);Mga Retrato at Rekwerdo(1984);
andMuli Sa Kandungan ng Lupa(1994).
Almarios earliest works of literary criticism were published in the
Dawn, the weekly organ of the University of the East. Some of
those works were later included inAng Makata sa Panahon ng
Makina(1982), now considered as the first book of literary criticism
in Filipino. His other critical works includeTaludtod at
Talinghaga(1965), which tackles the traditional Tagalog prosody;
andBalagtasismo Versus Modernismo(1984), in which he presents
the two main directions of the Tagalog Poetry.
Almario performed significant deeds in the field of Philippine
literature. He founded the Galian sa Arte at Tula (GAT) with the
other poets Teo Antonio and Mike Bigornia in 1970; and the
Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA), an organization of
poets who write in Filipino, in 1985. From 1986 to 1992, he served
as chairman of the Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL),
considered to be the biggest umbrella organization of writers. From
1998 to 2001, he served as executive director of the National
Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). In 2013 he became
the chairman of the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF).
High Zoociety
Ni Rio Alma

Masdan ang tagak sa likod ng kalabaw,

Parang birheng-birheng manang
Na di-madapuan ng langaw
Sa ibabaw ng karosa patungong simbahan;
At ang mga dekadenteng gansa sa gilid ng lawa,
Maluluma ang mga donyang nakahilata
Habang ibinibilad ang kuto at muta.
Hayun ang mga maryakaprang paawit-awit,
Parang mga binibining umiikot ang puwit,
Sa bulwagang hitik sa masalapit makikisig;
At ang mga burukratang unggoy
Sa tuktok ng mala-palasyong kahoy,
Pulu-pulutong kung magpulong
Kung paanong mas lalapad ang papel at tumbong.
Naghaharit matitikas na osot agila,
Nagkikikil lang ng kukot pangil tuwing umaga
Para isakmal sa karnet isuob na barya
Kaya tumatambok ang tiyan at bulsa.
Samantala, matatalinong kuwagoy naghihilik,
Malalaki nga ang matay lagi namang pikit,
Marahil, bagong paraiso ang laman ng panaginip.
Di tulad ng buwayang laging abala
Sa paghanap ng kahit butiking mabiktima,
Bundat nay lagi pa ring nakanganga.
Pero higit na mag-ingat sa hunyangot ahas
Na sa damuhan ay nagkalat;
Tuwing maghuhunos ng kulay at balat,
Pakay ay kay-hirap madalumat.

(Reproduced by permission of National Artist, Virgilio S.

The poem "High Zoociety" is part of the collectionDoktrinang

Anakpawis(1979). Published during the martial law years

(19721981), the poem and the rest of the collection are
considered committed poetry, that is, of social awareness and
concern. The title is a play on the term "High Society," which
refers to the rich and powerful.
"High Zoociety" has eight stanzas following this pattern of

number of lines: 4-3-3-4-4-3-3-4. It uses what is called in

Tagalog poetry as "tugmang karaniwan," wherein the last word
of each line has the same sound. The second, fifth, and seventh
stanzas use "tugmang patinig," wherein the last words of the
lines have the same vowel wound. On the other hand, the rest
of the stanzas use "tugmang katinig," wherein the last words of
the lines end in a consonant preceded by the same vowel
sound. However, the poem has no regular meter.
Key Points
Virgilio S. Almario, or Rio Alma, is a
Filipino artist known for his works of
modernist poetry and literary criticism
on Filipino poetry, which are valuable
contributions to Philippine literature.
At the end of this lesson, you should
be able to identify Alejandro R. Rocess
contributions to the development of
Philippine literature.
Learn about it!
Alejandro R. Roces as a Filipino Writer

Alejandro R. Roces was a Filipino literary writer. He was born on July 13,
He was a playwright, an essayist, and a short story writer. He was also a
columnist at thePhilippine Star, theManila Times, and theManila Chronicle.
He attended the Ateneo de Manila University for his primary and secondary
education and the University of Arizona where he earned his degree in fine
arts. He pursued further studies at the following institutions: Far Eastern
University (masters degree); Ateneo de Manila University, Polytechnic
University of the Philippines, St. Louis University, and Tokyo University in
Japan (doctorate).
Alejandro R. Roces was known for his short story "We Filipinos Are Mild
Drinkers," a story about an American soldier in the Philippines who brags
about his drinking habits, but becomes overly drunk after
drinkinglambanogoffered by a Filipino farmer.
From 1961 to 1965, he served as the Secretary of Education under the
regime of former president Diosdado Macapagal. He has also served as
chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board
(MTRCB) in 2001.
From 1961 to 1965, he served as the Secretary of
Education under the regime of former president Diosdado
Macapagal. He has also served as chairman of the Movie
and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) in
His other literary works are "My Brothers Peculiar
Chicken," a story which talks about two brothers who
were arguing whether the chicken they caught was a hen
or a rooster;Something to Crow About, the first Filipino
zarzuela in English about a man named Kiko who earns a
living by means of cockfighting; andFiesta, a collection of
essays about various Philippine festivals.
Alejandro R. Roces was conferred as National Artist for
Literature in 2003.
He died on May 23, 2011.
Read the synopsis of My Brothers Peculiar Chicken below, one
of Alejandro R. Roces notable works.

Kiko and his brother found a peculiar chicken. They argued whether

it was a hen or a rooster. Kiko believed that it was a rooster, while

his brother thought otherwise. Kikos brother emphasized that it
could not be a rooster as the chicken has neither wattles nor comb.
Their parents took turns in looking at the chicken and had different
thoughts about it; thus, they ended up arguing like their children.
Kiko and his brother asked the chieftain about it, and he thought
that it was a bird of a different kind. They also asked Mr. Eduardo
Cruz, someone who studied poultry raising, and he suggested
examining the insides of the chicken, to which Kiko refused. They
both agreed to bring the chicken to a cockpit and have it fight with
a rooster from Texas. However, the rooster performed a love dance
around the peculiar chicken. It turned out that the peculiar chicken
was waiting for a chance to attack. It stubbed its spur into the
rooster, and won. Kikos brother was convinced that the chicken
was a rooster. However, when he was holding the chicken, it
suddenly quivered and laid an egg.
Humoris a literary device which aims to make the audience or
readers laugh or be amused. Alejandro R. Roces employed humor
in most of his works. There are various types of humor. Some of
which are exaggeration/hyperbole, surprise, and sarcasm.
Sarcasm is a literary device used to mock. In the story, the

chicken crowed and Kiko triumphantly asked his brother if he heard

it. Kiko then mocked his brother by saying I suppose you are going
to tell me now that hens crow and that carabaos fly.
Exaggeration/Hyperbole is a literary device used to make an

event appear better or worse than what it really is. In the story,
Kikos brother shared how they were almost whipped for arguing
too much.
Surprise is a literary device commonly found in unlikely situation

or an unexpected turn of events. As the brothers ran from the mob,

Kikos brother was convinced that the chicken was a rooster based
on how it defeated its opponent, until it laid an egg.
Alejandro R. Roces was best known for his
short stories, "My Brothers Peculiar Chicken"
and "We Filipinos Are Mild Drinkers." He
employed humor in most of his works, usually
tackling the Filipinos fascination of
At the end of this lesson, you should be able to
identify the valuable contributions of Bienvenido
S. Lumbera in the development of Philippine
literature, and analyze two of his poems.
Learn about it!
Personal Life:
Lumbera, who was called Beny when he was a young boy, was born in
Lipa, Batangas on April 11, 1932. His parents had passed away before
he turned five.
Beny and his older sister were raised by Eusebia Teru, their paternal
When Eusebia died, Beny came to live with his godparents, Enrique and
Amanda Lumbera.
Beny showed natural aptitude for English. In sixth grade, his writing
impressed his teacher so much that she once asked him, in an
accusatory tone, if he did write his composition himself. In his third year
in high school, his teacher gave him difficult works of literature to read.
Lumbera took a degree in journalism at the University of Santo Tomas in
1950 and graduated cum laude in 1954. A year before his graduation,
his first published work, the poem Frigid Moon, appeared in the
Sunday magazine of the Manila Chronicle.
On a full scholarship granted by the Fulbright Committee, Lumbera
obtained his masters and doctorate degrees at Indiana University.
Literary Background
Lumbera writes in English and Filipino. Below are some of his works.

Poetry Collections
Likhang Dila, Likhang Diwa(1993)

Balaybay: Mga Tulang Lunot at Manibalang(2002)

Critical Works
Abot Tanaw: Sulyap at Suri sa Nagbabagong Kultura at Lipunan(1987)

Writing the Nation/Pag-Akda ng Bansa(2000)

Tagalog Poetry, 15701898: Tradition and Influences in Its
Tales of the Manuvu(1977)

Rama Hari(1980)
Sa Sariling Bayan: Apat na Dulang May Musika(2003)
Lumbera is a strong advocate of the Filipino language. According to him, the

gap between the well-educated Filipinos and the majority cannot be bridged
until Filipino becomes their true lingua franca.
Lumbera has received numerous awards for his work. The most notable ones

were the Special Prize from the Palanca Awards for his poetry collectionSunog
sa Lipa at Iba Pang Tulain 1975, the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism,
Literature, and Creative Communication Arts in 1993, and the Philippine
Centennial Literary Prize for Drama in 1998.
Lumbera received the title of National Artist for Literature in 2006.
A Eulogy of Roaches
by Bienvenido Lumbera
Blessed are the cockroaches.

In this country they are

the citizens who last.
They need no police
to promulgate their peace
because they tolerate
each others smell or greed.

Friends to dark and filth,

they do not choose their meat.
Although they neither sow
nor reap, a daily feast
is laid for them in rooms
and kitchens of their pick.
The roaches do not spin,
and neither do they weave.
But note the russet coat
the sluggards wear: clothed
at birth, roaches require
no roachy charity.

They settle where they wish

and have no rent to pay.
Eviction is a word
quite meaningless to them
who do not have to own
their dingy crack of wall.
Not knowing dearth or taxes,
they increase and multiply.
Survival is assured
even the jobless roach;
his opportunities
pile up where garbage grows.

Dying is brief and cheap

and thus cannot affright.
A whiff of toxic mist,
an agile heel, a stick
the swift descent of pain
is also final death.

Their annals may be short,

but when the simple poor
have starved to simple death,
roaches still circulate
in cupboards of the rich,

the strong, the wise, the dead.

(Reproduced by permission of National Artist, Dr. Bienvenido S. Lumbera.)

Analysis of the Poem
Published in 1965, A Eulogy of Roaches is a piece
ofBagaypoetry. Its subject, the roaches, represents a deeper
meaning. However, the poet merely focuses on giving precise
visual images of the subject and not on explicitly stating its
The poet usesimagery, a literary technique in which
figurative language is used to appeal to the readers physical
senses. An example is the poets description of roaches as
friends to dark and filth.
Also, the poet usesjuxtaposition, a literary technique in
which two (or more) ideas are placed side by side for
comparison and contrast. In the last two stanzas, the poet
draws both a comparison and a distinction between the
roaches life and the life of the poor: that the poor die simply of
starvation, but the roaches still go on living their short lives in
the cupboards of the rich, the strong, the wise, the dead.
Bienvenido S. Lumberais a poet, critic, and
librettist. He has made valuable contributions
in the development of Philippine literature
especially in the vernacular language. He has
published works in English and Filipino and
received numerous awards including the
National Artist for Literature title in 2006.